The stark difference between the two is amazing. I know a few families who have children with Down Syndrome. Never once have I heard any of these moms complain about the self-help delays, speech issues, behavioral troubles, etc. Sure, they may, in confidence, discuss these topics. But, their tone when they do, is out of concern for their child--not themselves. It seems to be a common thread amongst Down Syndrome families to accept, love, & support their child. It also is apparent that these families do not allow a diagnosis to predict one's future success or happiness. These families go about their life, good days & bad, and prepare their children for life in the real world. They are hopeful about their children's future.
Quite a change from so many Autism families. The talk is often how tedious & tiring the autistic child's delays and behaviors are. The families so often speak of their "battle" against autism, and how their child will never achieve anything great. It is curious to me, how these sets of families can be so different.
A friend sent me "Welcome To Holland" early on, when my daughter was thought to possibly have a progressive brain disorder. It gave me hope, it's been hung up near my desk since. It wasn't until I was on an autism message board a while back, that I ever thought anyone might take issue with it (an inspirational & uplifting poem, not a political speech!). The mothers there, for the most part, took it apart & stomped on it. Someone posted this, which, according to them, was much more accurate for "us" Autism moms, "Welcome to Beirut." Interesting how even in poetry, a Down Syndrome mom chooses "Holland" to describe her life, an Autism mom chooses "Beirut."
And now just my free-write-babble (please do see article & video below!):
The mothers I know who have children with Down Syndrome, we have a lot in common. For one, my daughter's physical health issues & birth defects are common in children with Down Syndrome. Aside from that, we can relate to the developmental delays & behaviors. From the way I see it, Autism & Down Syndrome have a lot of similarities. Unfortunately, how so many families are perceiving and reacting to their child's autism is much different. I fear this may have been how Down Syndrome was perceived 40 years ago. Then came genetic testing, and in time, 90% of the Down Syndrome population never came to live. Was it then that people realized their importance in this world? Or was it something else? I am rambling & wondering. I fear that the research being put into Autism Speaks & the like, will lead to a genetic screening. I see genetic testing as a slippery slope, and often far too close to eugenics and Hitler. If you were wondering, I am neither pro-life nor pro-choice, I honestly haven't come to a decision yet. I have a lot of unanswered questions about both sides of the argument. But, just so you know, I am not coming at this from an anti-abortion perspective. No, my p.o.v. is "who the hell decided we should pick and choose what humans are acceptable to live with us?" And, when will it end?
I came across this article on Amanda Bagg's blog, which I came to while I was doing more research on eugenics. Thought I would share it:
If you have time, go to the page for this video to read the comments:
I see similarities here too, & perhaps the drum is beating louder now for an autistic movement such as the one for Down Syndrome.